Antiquity: Who Knew

Today we discuss the defunct !?Who Knew?! designs distributed by Picture This Plus from 2005-2012.

Ocean Daughter
Ocean Daughter

Stash Antiquities:

Welcome to a new class of reviews, for the designers who are no longer in business. These reviews are presented to showcase works that the newer stitchers may not have seen and to have a place to list where they can still be found. Some bricks and mortar cross stitch shops have a few older designs still in stock, so you may find some Who Knew charts when poking around. If you do, or if you are a shop owner who has some of these still in stock, please comment below.

Who Knew - Wild Fairy Lights Cover

Why this designer?

!?Who Knew?! designs were incredibly popular and have become more so now they are out of print.  At one time or another I had five of these designs in my stash, although I can only find one at the moment.

These designs were charted for cross-stitch under licence by Picture This Plus.   They used Alison Tanner’s Mermaid and Garden Fairy stencils which were available at the time from Stensource International (which is now part of Quilting Creations).

The original images are copyright Alison Tanner, the resultant cross stitch designs are copyright !?Who Knew?!

Although the images are from another source, I love !?Who Knew?! choice of colour and fabric combination.  These are monochrome but not Black & White.

These charts are mostly whole cross stitch only.  Ocean Curiosity uses backstitch to denote fireworks and Autumn Fairy uses metallic floss in one strand in the fairy wings.  Other than that, it is two strands of the same thread all the way through.

These designs are quite simple to stitch and relatively small. I would recommend these from beginner through to advanced lovers of fairies or mermaids.

Who Knew - Autumn Fairy Cover


!?Who Knew?! charts were only released as printed charts.  All charts were printed on good quality heavy paper. The front and back covers are coloured, as are any backstitch lines.

Initial charts had photographs stuck down with glue on the front cover pages.  Later copies had images printed on the front cover page.  All pages were always printed on good-quality heavy paper.

The charts are printed in black symbols on white pages.  Although these were relatively small designs, they were printed over multiple pages, making the symbols easy to see.  As these designs are mostly monochrome, the few symbols are easy to differentiate.

Each subsequent page has a three-row overlap to help you keep your place.

With these multi-page charts, some pages have numbers in each corner and this can be confusing if you haven’t seen this before.

In the top left of each page is written “Page 1” (or whatever page of the chart it is.

In the other three corners are numbers in parentheses ( ).  These numbers denote which chart page lies directly in that direction.

So the number in the top right denotes which chart page sits directly to the right of the one you are working on.

The the number in the bottom left denotes which chart page sits directly below.

The number in the bottom right denotes which chart page sits to the right of the chart page directly below the one you are working on. So in a six-page chart :

Page 1                                Page 2

Page 3                                Page 4

Page 5                               Page 6


Page 1 would have these in each corner:

Page 1       (2)

(3)                (4)

The back cover lists all the information we need to kit up and stitch this design: the stitch count, the design size on a standard range of fabric counts, what fabric was used in the model, the floss list and the floss key.

All of the !?Who Knew?! designs can be stitched over one or over two, so select your favourite Aida or evenweave fabric, some favourite threads and start stitching.


Who Knew - Autumn Fairy

Autumn Fairy:
2 skeins (20yd) Threadworx 1042 Desert Sunset (NN 129 Sequoia)
1 spool Kreinik Blending Filament 021 Copper

Stitch count 103 x 135.
Model stitched on Picture This Plus “Midas” 28ct Cashel

Who Knew - Ocean Curiosity

Ocean Curiosity:
6 skeins Gentle Arts 0240 Midnight
1 card Rainbow Gallery Petite Treasure Braid PB68 Black Opal

Stitch count 169 x 248.
Model stitched on Picture This Plus “Dwarf” 32ct Belfast linen.

Who Knew - Ocean's Daughter

Ocean Daughter:
8 skeins Classic Colorworks Bejeweled

Stitch count 149 x 159.
Model stitched on Picture This Plus “Crystal Lagoon” 32ct Belfast.

Who Knew - Ocean Treasure

Ocean Treasure:
6 skeins Weeks Dye Works 1285 Twilight
1 card Rainbow Gallery Petite Treasure Braid PB03 Gold

Stitch count 198 x 125.
Model stitched on Picture This Plus “Crystal Loch” 32ct Belfast.

Who Knew - Ocean Whisper

Ocean Whisper:
unknown skeins of Dinky Dyes 136 Sea Grass

Stitch count unknown.
Model stitched on Picture This Plus “Lagoon” 28ct Cashel linen.

Who Knew - Wild Fairy Light

Wild fairy light:
5 skeins Gentle Arts 0310 Claret
1 spool Kreinik Blending Filament 042 Confetti Fuchsia

Stitch count 111 x 168.
Model stitched on Picture This Plus “Fresco” 28ct Cashel linen.

Places to Buy

Picture This Plus stopped selling !?Who Knew?! designs in November 2012. If you know of any store who has any of these designs in stock, please comment below.

Hand Dyer Suggestions

Some hand dyers have suggested alternatives for a different look or feel to these designs.

Crafty Kitten “Wild fairy light – stitch on Dawnblush (or vintage petals) with Moonlight threads for a slightly different look.

Or if you wanted more a tone on tone, stitch on Moonlight with Twilight Shadows thread.

Colour Cascade Fabrics “Ocean Treasure (I adore mermaids I found it so hard to only send you a few pics Sorry) Mermaid Song, After the Rain, Deep Water & Oceans”

Tammy offers a 15% discount for readers of this site. Code is: CSReview. Offer ends 27 February 2015.

Fiberlicious “Ocean Daughter: I’d suggest using Mermaid of Atlantis to stitch Mermaid, Sea Moss to stitch the plants and fishes.

Ocean Whisper: Ocean Ridge for the background and water flows. Sea Moss for the plants. Sea Dragon/Mermaid of Atlantis for the mermaid

Ocean Treasure: Moonlit water or shades of blue with Gold Kreinik and beads.

Ocean Curiosity: Ocean Ridge for the mermaid and castle. Sea Moss for the plants

Autumn Fairy: Autumn Wreath, Fallen lea, Flamboyant Fall or Apricot Sunshine.

Wild Fairy Light: Carnation Cluster/Camelia or Mystical Garden for the whole design or just the flower. You can add Hawaiian Hibicus which is a pastel rainbow colors into her wings to bring out the dreamy looking of the chart.

Sparklies “I chose Ocean Treasure which I think would look wonderful on Gina’s Delight.”

Chromatic Alchemy “I think Ocean Curiosity looks wonderful on Cirrus which can be used equally well as either a seascape or a brooding sky.”

Thread Pickerz Silkz suggests using “Ocean nebula or tropical teal” for any of the mermaid charts.

Eileen has been updating the Thread Pickerz Silkz website.  She offers 10% off each silk thread as it is added back into the collection.

For readers of this site, she offers an extra 10% discount if you use the code: Xstitchreview


Have you stitched any of these designs? Do you have any of these in your stash?  Can you help supply some of the missing information or cover photos of missing designs?

Which other vanished Designer would you like me to showcase? Comment below and I will try to find something suitable.

If you like this review of !?Who Knew?! designs, please share it with your friends or groups.

Last Updated: 19 February 2015

Red Velvet Cake by Glendon Place

Today we have a calorie-free dessert.  Red Velvet Cake by Glendon Place. Also don’t forget the updates to shops attending Nashville and our giveaways.

Red Velvet Cake Cover - again sorry for the poor photo quality; taken using my phone.
Red Velvet Cake Cover – again sorry for the poor photo quality; taken using my phone.

From the Designer

The A-Maze-ing Desserts Collection is a series of 10 Mandala type designs inspired by delectable desserts found anywhere from your own kitchen to the finest restaurants in the world.

What’s really amazing about them is they are guaranteed to be fat-free, lo-cal and too good to pass up! The Mandalas also have Mill Hill Beads added for that extra sweetness; what I like to call the “whip cream on top” or the “icing on the cake!”

Use your imagination. Just because this design is called Red Velvet Cake and the model is stitched in hues of red and crème doesn’t mean you can’t select an entirely different color palette of your own. You can even stitch it monochromatic (all in one color) if you like.

Why this chart?

I received this chart, floss and beads as a Christmas present from Julie Dollery this past Christmas.  She knew I loved the look of the A-Maze-ing Desserts Collection and I hate pink, so she bought me the pinkest of the collection. I truly love my best friends!

Julie also knows I love Red Velvet Cake, the real stuff that made with beet juice, not the fake coloured cake.

I love single colour palette designs and those that provide texture to their piece. This is mostly found in canvas-work so I am very happy to see the tradition alive in the cross stitch world.

This design is stitched solely in luscious soft Dinky Dye silks and Mill Hill beads on hand dyed fabric.  The design uses only full cross stitch and beads.  The A-Maze-ing Desserts Collection are wonderful designs for first-timers to try hand dyed floss.  The stitching in large blocks of colour give you time and space to play and find your own hand dyed stitching style.

Red Velvet Cake
Red Velvet Cake


All Glendon Place designs including Red Velvet Cake are only available as printed charts.

Red Velvet Cake is a US Letter booklet; pages of US Ledger (A3) stapled in the middle and folded in half. The outside four pages are a card stock and the inner four pages are a sheet of white paper.

The front cover has a photo of the finished design. The next six pages (including inside pages of front and back cover) are the chart, while the back cover lists the materials used and where to buy them from.

The chart is printed in black symbols on a white background; the symbols are large and easy to differentiate.  There is an obviously grey-background three-row overlap on each subsequent page. You can easily stitch direct from the chart booklet.

I love that the floss are denoted by typographic symbols, but the beads by numerals.  This is becoming an industry standard practice and I am pleased. This means I can tell at a glance whether I need to look to floss, or if that section has beads; I alter my work flow to accommodate the beads.

The last chart page also includes stitching instructions and a diagram showing where each page fits into the overall design. The stitching instructions include how to stitch with hand dyed floss and how to attach the beads.

The back cover lists everything we need to know to kit up this design; the stitch count, fabric used in the model, size of the design, size of fabric to purchase, list of floss including number of skeins of each colour, chart symbols, where to buy the recommended materials, and even where the model was framed.

Red Velvet Cake has everything you want in a chart; large clear symbols, full instructions and helpful hints and complete materials lists on the back cover so if you are in a bricks and mortar store, you can kit this baby up before taking it home.  For the online stitchers, Glendon Place lists the floss and fabric required and even includes links so you can kit up the project right there on their website.

Materials Required

To stitch the charts exactly as designed, you will need:

Dinky Dyes 000 Natural


2 skeins Dinky Dyes Natural


Dinky Dyes 140 Pilbara


3 skeins Dinky Dyes 140 Pilbara


Dinky Dyes 166 Kununurra


2 skeins Dinky Dyes 166 Kununurra


Dinky Dyes 180 Red Jasper


2 skeins Dinky Dyes 180 Red Jasper


Dinky dyes 199 Choco Cherry


2 skeins Dinky Dyes 199 Choco Cherry

Dinky Dyes 204 Flesh


2 skeins Dinky Dyes 204 Flesh


DMC 819 - Light Baby Pink


1 skein Sullivans 45221 (similar to DMC 819). This is only used to attach the beads.


Mill Hill 02035 Shimmering Apricot


2 packets Mill Hill beads 02035 Shimmering Apricot


Mill Hill 03021 Royal Pearl


2 packets Mill Hill beads 03021 Royal Pearl


Mill Hill 03049 Rich Red


2 packets Mill Hill beads 03049 Rich Red



Mill Hill 03057 Cherry Sorbet


2 packets Mill Hill beads 03057 Cherry Sorbet



Picture This Plus 28 count Opal Cashel Linen (stitch count 198 x 198). This design can be stitched over 2 on 28ct evenweave or over 1 on 14ct Aida. I would not recommend stitching over one on 28ct as the beads will be too large.

For 14ct Aida or 28ct linen (with 3″ border allowance) fabric size is: 20¼” x 20¼”  or  51 x 51cm  or  a fat half (27 x 36″).

Picture This Plus - Opal

Glendon Place recommends reducing the border to 2″ so this design will fit on a fat quarter (18 x 27″).

Approximate cost for Project

Approximate cost to stitch this design using the recommended materials (prices are in $US, at recommended retail and do  not include postage):

Chart: $16.00
Floss:  $ 62.85
Fabric: $26.00

Total: $104.85  ($157.10 AUD or €119.60  or  £77.20)

Places to Buy

Glendon Place sells the printed charts, fabric and floss kits worldwide. The kits prices direct from Catkin are cheaper than buying the individual pieces from your Local Needlework Shop because they only include the cut of fabric and the amount of floss you need instead of a full fat quarter and full skeins of floss.


Colours Down Under has all the threads and a variety of plain fabrics in stock. Jo would be happy to order in the chart, and offers a 10% discount on the package (chart + floss). Mention this review when ordering.

Colour Cascade Fabrics has the chart in stock and recommends Golddigger, FairyTale or Silver Springs from their fabrics.

Tammy offers a 15% discount for readers of this site. Code is: CSReview. Offer ends 27 February 2015.


Traditional Stitches in Calgary have everything in stock for you to buy and kit up this chart.


Casa Cenina in Italy  has this chart, the floss pack and the beads in stock for you.

United Kingdom:

SewandSo can order in this chart for you.  They have the floss and beads in stock and can offer a range of alternative fabrics.

Chromatic Alchemy  “I have included a dark and a light option for Red Velvet Cake, it’s amazing how different they make the piece look! The dark fabric is Permanganate and the light is Nuriel’s Forest.”

Crafty Kitten  has the chart and floss in stock.  Dawn suggests “Jurassic sands, latte (evenweave), just peachy or oatmeal are the ones I’d go for and maybe chocolate orange for something a bit different!”

Sparklies suggests “Oatmeal or Barely Bronzed would be suitable neutrals for this one”

Thread Pickerz Silkz are currently undergoing maintenance as Eileen updates her website.  She offers 10% off each silk thread as it is added back on the website.”

United States:

123Stitch has everything in stock for you to buy and kit up this chart.

Black Cat Stitchery in Illinois has this chart, the floss pack and the beads in stock for you. Erica is offering a 5% discount for readers of Cross Stitch Review.  Coupon code: CSRSPRING15. Offer ends 31 May 2015.

Stitches n Things have the chart and silk floss in stock for you.

Dinky Dyes offer a floss pack for Red Velvet Cake.

Fiberlicious “I adore Glendon Place’s Dessert series. Red Velvet Cake is a chart to die for! I’d suggest using Peony Blush, Fuchsia Bloom and Strawberry Truffle in Valentines Collection (either cotton or silk) to make the design stand out a little bit more, brighter and yummier :D”

Picture This Plus is a one stop shop for Red Velvet Cake chart, fabric, floss and beads. They sell the recommended fat quarter of “Opal” fabric.


Would you stitch one of the A-Maze-ing Desserts collection?  Which would be your favourite?

If you liked the review, please share it with your friends or favourite groups.

Last Updated: 11 February 2015

Twisted Rainbow Sampler by Northern Expressions Needlework

Something colourful for the Aussies heading back to work and everyone else experiencing Tuesday blues …  Twisted Rainbow Sampler by Nicole Dostal of Northern Expressions Needlework.

Northern Expressions - Twisted Rainbow Sampler

From the Designer

Twisted Band Sampler has been my most popular design, and I have had no end of requests to do another one like it. When I saw the lovely colours that Eileen from Thread Pickerz had dyed for her own Twisted Band Sampler, my brain started working overtime and this was the result.

Why this chart?

I adore bright bold colours. I love working on black fabric, and I love a “twist” on an established genre, so there’s no surprise Twisted Rainbow Sampler is in my stash.

Twisted Rainbow Sampler not only shows us the fun of stitching motifs on the diagonal,it also includes speciality stitches; Upright Rice Stitch, Diamond Eyelet Stitches, Scallop Stitch, Norwich Stitch, Double Leviathan Stitch, Horizontal Satin Stitch, Diamond Algerian Eye, Smyrna Diamond, Diamond Eyelet, Diamond Rhodes, Jessica Stitch, Rice Stitch, Ray Stitch, Square Ray Stitch, Sprat’s Head Corner stitch, and a Long Armed Smyrna Diamond.

Nicole uses page of information and illustrations to show us how to complete each stitch, even the partial stitches at the end of each row. If however you don’t want to use specialty stitches, Nicole has provided a cross stitch only version of the sampler.

If you are a beginner but wish to try the specialty stitches, then do it! I feel that Nicole has provided great information to try these stitches for the first time; just follow the numbers on each diagram.

Otherwise, hunt YouTube for stitch tutorials such as this one for the Sprat’s Head Stitch.


Northern Expressions Needlework designs are available as printed charts in your local Needlework Store or in PDF Digital form from Nicole’s Etsy store.

As I have no patience, do not wish to pay postage costs to Australia and prefer to stitch from files on my tablet, I will usually have PDF format to review.

The Twisted Band Sampler chart pack includes a cover page, one page of introductions and materials, ten pages of stitching instructions and diagrams, a one page chart and finally the eight pages of chart.

The cover page includes  colour photo of the finished stitched project and an email address if you need to contact the designer.

The materials page lists all the kitting up information, stitch count, size of material on standard fabric counts, the fabric used for the model stitch and floss used.  There are floss options for Thread Pickerz Silkz, Dinky Dyes floss and DMC. Nicole says:

“This is not an exact conversion, some colours are close, some not so close. Rather than matching colour to colour I went for what would result in a smooth transition in each brand of floss.”

Nicole uses 10 pages to discuss and offer diagrams for the 18 bands to this sampler.  Considering every second band is cross stitch, this averages to a full page of discussion and diagrams for each specialty band.  Each discussion lists which colour to use, which type of stitch and then how to do those stitches. She even lists if there will be threads between the stitches or if they will meet.  The diagrams are so good, I’m going to use them when a different design calls for one of these stitches.

The one page chart is simply a placement guide to identify each bands and to see how the design fits together.

The eight page chart is large enough to stitch the cross stitch symbols and to mark your progress on the specialty stitches.  Each subsequent page has a two-row overlap to help maintain your place. The cross stitch floss symbols are printed quite large so this is an easy chart to see and follow.  There is good disparity between the cross stitch symbols and the specialty stitches.  Although you will need the instructions pages to stitch the specialty bands, the main chart is a great way to check you progress.

Do note however, that the width of the sampler is across two pages, so if you want to start in the top left corner, you will need to start on page 2 of the chart.  I feel the one page chart should have the page lines on it so you can tell at a glance where each page fits into the design.

Twisted Rainbow Sampler is stitched with one thread over 32ct  fabric because it is a companion to Twisted Band Sampler which is stitched with one thread over 32ct  fabric.  This design can be stitched on any count of fabric.  I do highly recommend stitching on an evenweave (or linen). as some of the specialty stitches would be a pain to do on Aida.

Northern Expressions - Twisted Rainbow Sampler closeup

My Experience

Amanda Koppelow‎ – I have nothing but positive things to say about Nicole’s charts they are so clear and easy to read. So many stitchers are unnecessarily scared of stitching speciality stitches, but Nicole’s diagrams are some of the best you will find!

I stitched it in the called for Thread Pickerz silks, but the design is so versatile that you could stitch it in a colour way of you choice. I used 32ct for mine and found I needed to use 2 strands for the cross stitch sections as I prefer a fuller coverage – but I had plenty of silk leftover, so no worries about running out and different dyelots etc.

Photo and stitching courtesy of Amanda Koppelow‎
Photo and stitching courtesy of Amanda Koppelow‎

Materials Required

To stitch the charts exactly as designed, you will need:

Thread Pickerz Silkz - Rainbow PackThread Pickerz Silkz Rainbow Pack, one skein each: Christmas red, Salmon, Princes Peach, Golden Orange, Golden Yellow, Buttercup, Pistachio, Slime, Bowling green, Mermaids tail, Turquoise, King of the blues, Periwinkle, Amethyst, P3, Mauve, Fushia, Pink raver.

Dinky Dyes - Rainbow Thread PPackOR Dinky Dyes Twisted Rainbow Sampler Silk Pack, one skein each: Desert Pea, Jindalee, Outback, Tropic Sunshine, Lemon Myrtle, Wattle, Bikley Valley, Peridot, Binda, Bermuda, Turquoise, Shark Bay, Violet, Claremont, Orchid, Hardenbergia, Brambleberry, Wild Strawberry.

OR 1 skein each DMC 321, 350, 721, 972, 973, 907, 702, 911, 3812, 3844, 798, 3838, 3746, 208, 917, 3804, 601.

32ct Weeks Dye Works “Onyx” Belfast Linen (stitch count 144 x 288). This design can only be stitched over 2 due to the specialty stitches.

Weeks Dye Works - Onyx

For 28ct evenweave (with 3″ border allowance) fabric size is: 16½” x 27”  or  42 x 68cm  or  a fat quarter (18 x 27″).

Approximate cost for Project

Approximate cost to stitch this design using the recommended materials (prices are in $US, at recommended retail and do  not include postage):

Chart: $20.00
Floss:  $ 53.55
Fabric: $23.35

Total: $96.90 ($126.35 AUD or €99.60  or  £61.70)

Places to Buy

Northern Expressions Needlework Etsy store sells PDF charts worldwide.  Due to the changes in UK/EU laws, the PDF charts will be manually emailed to you within 48 hours of purchase.

Thread Pickerz Silkz sells the Rainbow Pack of silks used in this design.

Dinky Dyes sells an alternate Twisted Rainbow Sampler Silk Pack that can be used in this design.


Colours Down Under stocks DMC, Dinky Dyes and a variety of plain fabrics. Jo would be happy to order in the printed chart, and offers a 10% discount on the package (chart + floss). Mention this review when ordering.

Colour Cascade Fabrics suggests “Back In Black or Sorcerer” for this design.

Tammy offers a 15% discount for readers of this site. Code is: CSReview. Offer ends 27 February 2015.


Traditional Stitches in Calgary have the chart, Weeks Dye Works fabric and Dinky Dyes threads in stock.


Casa Cenina in Italy has the chart in stock, as well as a variety of fabrics and floss.

United Kingdom:

SewandSo has the Dinky Dyes floss and Weeks Dye Works linen in stock.

Chromatic Alchemy  “I love how the rainbow sampler looks on black but I really am loathe to stitch on it as my eyes aren’t what they used to be! So here’s an alternative that would be easier on the stitching eye – Elsa”

Crafty Kitten “I really love this design – but it’s one that is so busy and loaded with colour I would be inclined to use white or black to stitch it on.  If I was to use a hand dyed it would be moondust, so something subtle which won’t detract from the sampler”

Crafty Kitten is also running a competition on her site: any orders placed in January over £10 would go into a draw for a £10 Crafty Kitten gift voucher.

Sparklies “I know there are people stitching one of her other designs on my fabrics, not sure if anyone is doing this one, but still, either Ink or Pitch would be ideal for this.”

Thread Pickerz Silkz Rainbow Pack, one skein each: Christmas red, Salmon, Princes Peach, Golden Orange, Golden Yellow, Buttercup, Pistachio, Slime, Bowling green, Mermaids tail, Turquoise, King of the blues, Periwinkle, Amethyst, P3, Mauve, Fushia, Pink raver.

United States:

123Stitch has the chart, dinky dyes threads and Weeks Dye Works fabric in stock to kit this up for you.

Black Cat Stitchery in Illinois has floss and fabric in stock and can order in the chart for you.  Erica is offering a 5% discount for readers of Cross Stitch Review.  Coupon code: CSRSPRING15. Offer ends 31 May 2015.

Stitches n Things has floss and fabric in stock and can order in the chat for you.

Dinky Dyes Twisted Rainbow Sampler Silk Pack, one skein each: Desert Pea, Jindalee, Outback, Tropic Sunshine, Lemon Myrtle, Wattle, Bikley Valley, Peridot, Binda, Bermuda, Turquoise, Shark Bay, Violet, Claremont, Orchid, Hardenbergia, Brambleberry, Wild Strawberry.

Fiberlicious “I personally think Rainbow pack from Thread pickers is a really good choice. However, for those who like to stitch with just one variegated colors or one tone of color, I’d suggest using Sea Dragon or Shades of purple for alternative option”


Which floss and fabric combination would you use to stitch the Twisted Rainbow Sampler or Twisted Band Sampler?  Would you stitch the specialty stitches or the Cross Stitch only version?

Thank you to Amanda Koppelow for her insights on stitching this design. If you liked the review, please share it with your friends.

Last Updated: 27 January 2015

Hand Dyed Floss

What is hand dyed floss and how do I use it?

Dinky Dyes silk

Hand Dying techniques

There are many different ways of hand dyeing embroidery floss. Broadly speaking these techniques fall into two categories:

Vat Dyeing – the skeins or hanks of floss are immersed or dipped into a container of liquid dye

Space Dyeing  – where coloured dyes are placed along different parts of the floss skein or hank.

Vat Dyeing is where you make up a liquid solution of pigment or dye, and then you dip part or all if your floss into it, or when you drop your floss into it, giving it a bath. You can tie loose knots in your floss so that the dye penetrates some areas more than others. This is the easiest range of methods for mottled threads or subtle dye variations.

Space Dyeing  is where coloured dyes are deliberately added to specific sections of the floss skein or hank. Usually the dye solution is added to the floss. Space Dyeing methods are mainly used to create colourful rainbow threads.

Dye Types

There are many different types of dyes and pigments used to dye floss.  Some are powders that must be mixed into water or oil, some are already liquid, some are derived from plant materials, or squished insects, others are made in a laboratory.  Some require a “mordant” to hold the colour to the floss, others do not. Often different dye processes are used on synthetic fabrics such as rayon and nylon to those processes used for cotton, silk, cashmere, wool etc.

Every different dyer uses their own type of dying process and dyes or pigments.  This is why some hand dyed threads are colourfast and others are not.  Read the label carefully if you are planning on stitching a large design or a small travel piece, as the threads may not be washable at the end.

Classic Colorworks

Cleaning tips

If you do need to clean an item that has non-colourfast threads on it, here’s how to do it.

  • Turn on the tap over your basin or sink.
  • Use tepid or cold water.
  • Do not put the plug in.
  • Rinse your fabric under the water, thoroughly wetting it.
  • If any colours run, this is usually excess dye leaching from the thread. Leave your stitching under the running water until the water runs clear.

If you put the plug in or swirl this fabric through a basin of standing water then that excess dye lands on your fabric and stains it.  If you leave the water running without a plug then the water carries the free dye down the drain before it can land and stain.

Caron waterlilies

Photographing floss and Colour Vision

The same issues we discussed in the Hand Dyed Fabrics article apply here. There is no possible way for either monitors or printers to accurately reflect the full range of colours that our eyes can see. However, you can often get a good idea of the range and variation in the shading.

Carrie's Silks

Hand Dyed Means Unique

Again as discussed in the Hand Dyed Fabrics article, there are just some variables in the hand dying process  that you can never plan for:  The minerals in the water used in the dye bath, the temperature of the water versus the temperature of the ambient air on the day, the humidity levels or how the floss was dried.  All of these factors can these can subtly change the characteristics of the final piece.

If you are buying variegated threads for a specific project, ALWAYS BUY THE WHOLE AMOUNT OF FLOSS AT THE SAME TIME . Wherever possible, ask that the skeins are supplied from the SAME DYELOT.

This is particularly important if you are planing to stitch a large piece in hand dyed floss, By requesting skeins from the same dyelot, you will know both the shade and patterning will be consistent throughout your piece.

Gentle Arts Sampler Threads  - Reds and Blues

How do you stitch with hand dyed threads

The way you stitch with hand dyed threads makes a significant difference to the finished effect. To show this, I have stitched a sampler to illustrated some of the more common stitching styles.  I have used a skein of Carrie’s Jelly Fish as there are many colour changes.

2014-12-12 16.36.46

Left block and first long strip were stitched:

\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  then ///////////////// (yes I was taught by a left-hander)

In both the block and the row, some of the colours are barely seen because they are used on the bottom  \\\\ and others are shown more because they are solely used as the top ////,  This can create an unusual look for your piece. I do like the interplay of colours with the yellow over pink add the purple over green.

I’ve only see one pattern that deliberately asked to be stitched that way; “Is it my Eyes” by Susan Saltzgiver. Most of these blocks have the bottom \ in a different floss to the /,  Usually light over dark but sometimes dark over light.

Is it my eyes - Susan Saltzgiver

Middle block and middle strip are stitched one full stitch at a time, so \ then / then \ then /   The rows are stitched:

01, 02, 03 … 09, 10
20, 19, 18 … 12, 11
21, 22, 23 … 29, 30
40, 39, 38 … 32, 31   etc

Although it doesn’t look much different in the block, the row shows how this can lead to a stripey stitched effect.  This method best reflects the real patterning in the hand dyed thread. One such as this:

Fire flower finished

Right Block and third strip were stitched via my way. I’ve developed a habit of stitching two stitches, then going to the next row and stitching the same two stitches, and then back up to the previous row and stitching another two stitches, then down to the next row and stitching two stitches etc.  So the block was stitched like this:

01, 02, 05, 06 … 17, 18
03, 04, 07, 08 … 19, 20
38, 37, 34, 33 … 22, 21
40, 39, 36, 35 … 24, 23
41, 42, 45, 46 … 57, 58
43, 44, 47, 48 … 59, 60 now there are three rows left so
86, 85, 80, 79 … 62, 61
88, 87, 82, 81 … 64, 63
90, 89, 84, 83 … 66, 65

This produces more of a mottled effect instead of stripes:


Or you can throw all of that out the window and cut your hand dyed threads so that you choose where each section of colour goes.  In this case, I stitched the left project using my usual two stitches method.  On the right, I cut the thread so that the colours went where I wanted them to.


Hand dyed thread will always produce an effect that is guaranteed to be unique. No two stitchers will create exactly the same outcome and often this variation creates some truly beautiful finishes. Ultimately, you can stitch with your hand dyed threads any which way you please. It all depends on the effect you want for each project.

Stitched Sampler

Places to Buy

World Wide:

These are threads that are available in most cross stitch stores:

Anchor Multicolours. Anchor Embroidery Floss is spun from the world’s finest 100% Egyptian cotton. Anchor offers you 24 multicolours that are completely washable and offer outstanding colorfastness.

Caron Waterlilies Hand-dyed 12 ply spun silk. 6 yard skeins. Easily divided, use two plies for cross stitch over two threads on 28 count fabric.

Caron Wildflowers A single strand hand-dyed cotton in variegated colors. It has more of a matte finish when stitched.  36 yard skein.

Classic Colorworks (formerly Crescent Colours) A hand dyed floss that begins with 100% cotton DMC six strand floss and gentle fabric dyes designed specifically for cotton. Available in a variety of beautiful colors that work well with cross stitch. 5 yard skeins.

Classic Colorworks (formerly Crescent Colours) Belle Soie Silk Floss These silks are hand dyed with the same creative eye and flair you’ve come to enjoy in their cotton flosses, with a softness unmatched in other silks. They start with a 12-stranded spun silk, and package them into 5-yard skeins.

Dinky Dyes Now based in the United States, Dinky Dyes started in Western  Australia.  Luxurious hand-dyed 6 strand spun silk sold in 8 meter skeins.

DMC Color Variations These give you the look of hand dyed floss with the added quality and reassurance that they are made by DMC. Twenty-four beautiful multi-color and tone on tone shades that are colorfast.

Gentle Art Sampler Threads Six Strand hand over-dyed floss. Sold in 5 yard skeins.

Gloriana This spun silk has silk’s beauty, luster, and shine but doesn’t catch on your hands. Gloriana Silk is soft and remarkably easy to use. 12 strand silk, 6 yard skein.

Gloriana Florimell Au Ver a Soie Soie d’Alger artisan-dyed 7 strand silk by Gloriana Threads. 5 yard skein. Hand-washable in cold water.

Needlepoint Inc Northern Lights 8 Strands. Colourfast. 100% Pure Chinese Silk. Overdyed to create this wonderful range of multicolour silk threads.

Thread Gatherer Silk N Colors 100% silk, 12-ply, 6 yard skeins. Silk N Colors initially separates into 3 groups of 4-ply. Before stitching, separate and put together the desired ply. Cross-stitching: we recommend 1-ply on 30 count or finer, 2-ply on 28 count linen.

Threadworx Overdyed Floss A premium quality, six-strand embroidery floss made from the finest long-staple, 100% Egyptian Giza cotton. Sold in 20 yard skeins.

Threadworx Vineyard Silk Artisan dyed by ThreadworX. 100% Pure Chinese Silk. Twisted. 20 yard skeins.

Valdani  Superb Hand-Overdyed colors in Cotton Floss for the “matte” look. Embroidery Floss Skeins in 6-ply cotton for cross-stitch

Weeks Dye Works Hand Over-Dyed Floss. 5 yard skeins. The colors are variegated enough to be noticeable, yet subtle enough to blend naturally. Because it is pliable, this fiber is perfect for cross stitch and needlepoint on many counts of fabric and canvas.


Colour Streams Colour Streams hand dyed embroidery silk threads are available in 50 glorious overdyed colours.

Cottage Garden Threads Our passion is to produce hand dyed threads inspired by the diversity of colour among the flowers and foliage of a cottage garden.

Primke Threads are hand dyed cotton threads from Australia, they come in 72 colours.

Stitches and Spice is Australia’s only floss hand dyer. There are 56 colours in Naomi’s range and they complement her fabric colours. 5 metre skeins of Hand-dyed 6 stranded 100% cotton.


Annick Abrial creates beautiful hand dyed floss colours. 100% cotton, 6 strands stranded, hand-painted, which are capable of steam ironing. The colors are guaranteed in time and are 8 metre skeins.

Rainbow Fingers  I’m a fiber artist living in France that has a passion for dyeing also.

The Silk Mill Our silk is 100% pure Chinese monofilament silk thread. The thread comes in skeins of six strands of 6.5 metres long, with a total skein length of 39 metres. There are 700 shades of silk to choose from.

Romy’s Creations Overdyed DMC floss in beautiful colours.


Nina’s Threads 100% stranded cotton threads, hand dyed with professional dyes, for embroidery and cross stitch. 8 meters / skein. Rinsed in neutral scent after dye.

South Africa:

Chameleon Threads are individually hand-dyed in South Africa using cotton, rayon and pure silk.

House of Embroidery Un-dyed cotton threads are imported from Europe and un-dyed silk is imported from Japan. Our threads are dyed in South Africa, using European dyes.

United Kingdom:

Crafty Kitten These threads are dyed to match our fabric colour range.  Each skein is 5m in length. These threads have been hand-dyed on high quality DMC white stranded embroidery cotton.

Jodyri Designs Hand dyed cotton threads priced at 99p per 8m skein. These cannot be guaranteed to be colourfast

Polstitches Dragon Floss has some wonderful thread names.  6 strand cotton, 8 metre skeins.

Rainbow Girl Each item is unique, and cannot be reproduced. I use a low water immersion technique with procion dyes. Every item is thoroughly rinsed and washed in Synthrapol, after dyeing, but I cannot guarantee that they are colourfast.

Sparklies All my threads are full skeins of DMC, hand dyed to an overdyed finish. Currently these are mostly two-tone, but I hope to expand the range to include multi-tone colours in the future.

Stef Francis 6-strand cotton, length 10m.  12 strand Silk, length 6m.

Thread Pickerz Silkz Here you will find wonderful silks to help make your cross stitch projects stand out. Each silk skein has 50 single strand lengths of approx 0.96m in length.

United States:

Carrie’s Creation Threads All threads are 100% cotton DMC,  and available in either the 6 strand cotton, the premium weight floss known as Floche, or Silk!

Dragonfly Lotus Produces hand dyed silk and wool threads.

Fiberactive Organics Our Shop Specializes in hand-dyed organic cotton products. We use low impact Fiber-Reactive Dyes to achieve the most vivid and fade resistant colors for all your project’s needs.

Fiberlicious  is a Facebook only dyer. Cotton floss is 6 strands and 10 yards long (approx).Silk has 50 single strands of 1.2m long which is 60 m in total. They are dyed with variation of colors (not colorfast). My silk is Pure silk (Flat Silk, 2 plies), not processed silk with polyester so it’s pretty soft and delicate.

Garibaldi’s Needle Works is an ebay only store that produces beautiful mottled fabrics and threads.

Hand Dyed Fibers by Vicki Clayton. Silk floss comes in two sizes. Regular silk floss is about the same size as DMC. Premium floss is much thicker and has single strand coverage over 2 on 28 ct. – 32 ct. You can use the drop down box to choose which type of floss you would like. Vicki is swamped with orders and has taken down her floss pages for a couple of weeks.

Mo’s Sale a Facebook supplier that now has her own website. Often releases new colours in themes such as MockingJay and Harry Potter.

Rumple Beary Rumors On Facebook and Etsy.  My skeins are hand measured and dyed/painted, so each will vary.  10 yards each of 6 strand cotton embroidery floss  Most times you will get a bit more than 10 yards. My threads are hand painted/dyed on a DMC base white thread and are variegated.

Victorian Motto Sampler Shoppe On Ebay and Etsy. My floss is 20, one yard pieces, per skein.


Did I miss any good dyers?  Please comment below and I will add them to the list. Also, what article do you want next weekend?


Did you like this Weekend Spotlight? Did it contain all the expected information? Is there anything you would like added or removed from this? Do you know of a particular chart, designer, stitch along or accessory creator you want to see featured here? If so, please head to the Suggestions page and let me know.

Last updated: 13 December 2014


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Garden Chair by The Cat’s Whiskers

For today’s Throwback Thursday, I thought I expose my greatest weakness – projects that need to be assembled.

Cat's Whiskers - Garden Chair

From the Designer?

A very pretty companion to The Peacock Stitching Chair. Flowers, hearts and ribbons surround a lovely little ode to friends stitched over one on the chair back.

There’s a little seat drawer to house your stitching necessities, and in addition I have included a parasol ‘tool caddy’ for a tiny pair of scissors and laying tools. There’s even a little pillow scissor fob to make the chair more comfy!

Supplied as a pattern, shapes, parasol hardware & bead feet kit.

To complete the chair you will need:  sharp crafting knife, cutting mat, a pair of sturdy craft scissors, approximately 20′ x 16″ quilters polyester batting (for padding the chair) a small amount of polyester toy fill, invisible thread, a sharp needle, water-based acid-free glue, small paint brush, eight spring-loaded laundry pegs, piece of fine sandpaper, tracing paper, strong cotton thread for lacing (such as Perle 8), cotton sewing thread to match your linen, an awl and four gold 1′ split pin paper fasteners to attach feet to chair.

 Garden Chair
Garden Chair

Why this chart?

I love the idea of needle books and tiny furniture and 3D houses but frankly I’m terrified of the assembling stage so I’ve never actually stitched any in my stash. I do have the entire set of Cat’s Whiskers chairs and I really do plan to stitch them …. some day.

As this design includes specialty stitches, one over one stitching, careful placement and 3D construction, I would recommend an intermediate stitcher or passionate crafter of any level for this project. The one over one stitching on 32 count fabric takes a fine hand and good eyes, but the delicate effect is worth it.

The Garden Chair was originally available through Cat’s Whiskers Design Studio and the Dinky Dyes website.  Janie closed down her stitching studio a few years ago, but now supplies some of her old designs (and some new designs) via her new Etsy store.

Due to the extra materials supplied, the Garden Chair is only available as a printed chart kit.

Garden chair kit


The Garden Chair kit comprises an 11 page chart booklet, 2 pages of cutouts, 2 pieces of study cardstock and a ziplock bag holding the four feet beads and the parasol hardware.

The chart booklet includes:

  • Layout map for the chair pieces, Floss list and legend, stitch count and fabric requirements
  • Instructions and helpful hints including: basting or gridding your fabric, personalizing the chair, cross stitching with hand dyed threads,
  • Instructions and diagram of Laced Herringbone stitch and Rhodes Heart stitch
  • Pattern for the Words on the Chair back, pattern of alphabet and numerals to enable personalization of the chair
  • Individual graphs and diagrams for the stitched areas
  • Instructions, diagrams and photos for constructing the chair components, then assembling the chair
  • Instructions, diagrams and photos for finishing the parasol and cushion fob.

The Garden Chair chart is packed with information including many diagrams, photographs of every stage of the construction and assembling process, and six pages of written instructions. These instructions are step by step and completely thorough, even down to listing which colour of cotton to use to bind parts of the chair together.

The new version of the chart available in the Etsy store is even easier to assemble, with the structural card stock pieces pre-cut, ready to assemble.

Photo courtesy of Flavia Takamatsu
Photo courtesy of Flavia Takamatsu

The only quibble I have with this chart pack are stitching charts. They are small enough that I have to squint to identify the different symbols. I recommend making a working copy doubled in size.

 Materials Required

To stitch the Garden Chair exactly as designed, you will need:

004 Strawberry Ice


1 skein – Dinky Dyes silk #04 – Strawberry Ice


103 Bougainvillea


1 skein – Dinky Dyes silk #103 – Bougainvillea


135 Dandenong


1 skein – Dinky Dyes silk #135 – Dandenong


DD Ribbon - Strawberry Ice



1 skein – Dinky Dyes 4mm Silk Ribbon #04 – Strawberry Ice

Zweigart - 32ct Belfast Mint Green



Zweigart – 32 count Mint Green Belfast Linen. This design is stitched over 1 on 32ct.

To stitch the chair you need 32ct fabric size: 16″ x 20½”  or  41 x 52cm  or  a fat quarter (18 x 27″).

Approximate cost for Project

Approximate cost to stitch the Garden Chair using the recommended materials (prices are in $US, at recommended retail and do  not include postage):

Chart: $ 15.85
Floss:  $ 18.00
Fabric: $15.65

Total: $49.50   ($69.80 AUD or £34.10)

Places to Buy

Janie Hubble Designs sells the Garden Chair chart pack through her Etsy store. She also has the Peacock Stitching Chair for sale and will soon also be selling her Victorian Memories Chaise Longue.


Colours Down Under has all the Dinky Dyes silks and a range of 32ct fabrics in stock.

Colour Cascade Fabrics stocks a variety of 32ct fabrics that could be used for your Garden Chair. For readers of this site she offers a 10% discount for any order. Use code PeaceOut during checkout. This code is valid for the month of October 2014.

United Kingdom:

SewandSo stocks Dinky Dyes threads and a variety of Zweigart 32ct fabrics.

Sparklies suggests Slightly Spring or Sunlit Forest from her range of fabrics.

United States:

123Stitch stocks Dinky Dyes threads and a variety of 32 count fabrics.


Would you stitch this design? Do you know someone who has? Leave a link to a photo of the stitched piece or work in progress in the comments below.


Did you like this review? Did it contain all the expected information? Is there anything you would like added or removed from the reviews? Do you know of a particular chart or designer you want to see featured here? If so, please head to the Suggestions page and let me know.

Was this read worth a cup of coffee?


Last Updated: 19 November 2014